Bringing the White Sea (Baħar Abjad) to Theatre
babelmed - 15/06/2011
The rubberbodies collective (Malta) present WHITE SEA ( BAĦAR ABJAD ), a 50-minute non-verbal visual theatre performance. This is the third performance project of the collective which will be premiered St James Cavalier, Valletta, Malta on 1st July 2011 and repeated on the 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 July 2011.
Coming from the island of Malta and having it present through history, the collective decided to create a work based around what is all around them - the sea. The performance will be based on the story of two women and the journey of their lives shaped by their connection to the sea. The port is a space full of energies, characters and stories and this historical richness is implanted in all Maltese people’s cells, creating a unique community with its own maritime heritage. rubberbodies will connect two lives through detailed beauty which once belonged to the life of the port. This will be performed by Ira Melkonyan and Rebecca Camilleri, props and costumes by Matthew Pandolfino, music by Mario Sammut aka Cygna, directed by Jimmy Grima.
Rubberbodies is a multi-disciplinary artist collective based in Malta. The initial idea was not to create a collective. Jimmy Grima, artistic director of the collective, describes how all this started from an addiction to create. “It all started in 2009, when Rebecca Camilleri and me started open improvisation sessions in a house in Mdina. There was no script or dramatic context. Then, Matthew wanted to create a skirt which could be used as a choreographic tool”. Since then, the collective has kept on developing its methodology and approach towards creating performance based work, whilst seeking new collaborators to strengthen this structure which is thriving to exist in the contemporary art culture.
In 2009, the rubberbodies collective created ‘Grace u Rofflu’, a performance about two characters (a man and a woman) and the stages of their relationship. Through a cycle of unhurried magical and dark-tinted scenes, the performers engage in a series of non-verbal intricate sequences in which their love, lust, hatred, violence and the sheer dysfunctionality of their relationship emerges. The audience is a voyeur privileged to witness the delicacy and gentility of the hidden feelings that the woman stores and the aggression the male expresses.
In 2010, the collective used Dock No1, Cottonera, Malta, an old shipyard built during the British era in 1848 and converted the space into a temporary theatre hall for their performance ‘100’. The collective was now formed by eight individuals who together created a journey through the seasons of summer and winter transcending through the emotion of love and the social construct of gender.
The collective has also recently published ‘rubberbodies: a trajectory to an artist collective in Malta’, a book which documents the common process used to create these two performances, analysing how the different disciplines interweave during the creation to create the performance structure.
With another performance in line the collective lunges a step forward and under a spell of creation, once again seeks to explore what is most alive whilst integrating languages of movement, sonar and imagery.
Link to a deeper look of how the rubberbodies collective create: